11.05.2014

UPDATED: The One Option Your 2014 Lexus LS460 Should Have


Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus LS460
The 2014 Lexus LS460.

About 12 years ago, the Lexus LS460 passed the Mercedes-Benz S-Class as the luxury car I recommend to friends for whom cost is no object.  I've never looked back.  Oh, I've compared each successive year of the LS to the S-Class, the BMW 7-Series, the Audi A8 and others, all great cars, but the LS has never lost the thread.  It's every bit as good, only better, because it's a Lexus.  It won't break. It won't leave you stranded.  Those 2002 LSs that I told folks to buy are still out there and still look good.  Heck, so are the 1990 models.

But we're here to talk about the 2014.  I drove one in Phoenix shortly before moving to Sacramento.  Three, actually...a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the LS460, the AWD LS460 and the LS460 F-Sport in which the F-Sport came off least well, feeling like an attempt at building a BMW M7 that just didn't quite put all the pieces in balance.

Generally, here at TireKicker, we work to avoid duplication between the cars in the Sacramento and Phoenix offices, but I said yes to an LS460 here and I'm glad I did, because I think I've found the Goldilocks solution for people who want more sport, especially in handling, than a stock LS offers.



Interior view of 2014 Lexus LS460
2014 Lexus LS460 interior.
As with the Phoenix car, this was a standard-wheelbase LS460, base price $72,140. You can see the standard equipment list (quite exhaustive) here. The EPA estimate remains 16 city/24 highway. This one also had options (blind spot monitor, all-weather package, comfort package, an upgrade to 19-inch wheels, semi-anline leather trim and Alcantara headliner, an upgraded 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a heated wood and leather steering wheel, cargo net and trunk mat) adding $6,009 to the tab.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus LS460
2014 Lexus LS460.

And then there was one more.  For $2,120 on top of that, this LS had the optional adaptive air suspension and variable gear ratio steering, with Normal, Comfort, Sport and SportS+ drive modes.  It's transformative.  Drive it in normal or comfort, and it's the cushy ride you expect from an LS.  But dial up Sport and the transmission and engine change their shift points....SportS+ and the suspension tightens up, hunkers down and you're taking corners as though you were in a much smaller, more nimble machine, without any punishment to your bone structure or central nervous system.

With destination and handling charges of $910, the out-the-door price of our tester wound up at $81,179.  And if I had it, there'd be no question.  My aspirational vehicle is the LS460 with that magic four-position knob.

PHOENIX BUREAU UPDATE:  The Phoenix Bureau recently had a week in an LS460 identically equipped to the one Michael reviewed above---and he's right. The adaptive air suspension and variable gear ratio steering make a world of difference. Set on Comfort, the last thing you want to do is take a corner even five miles per hour faster than posted.  But on Sport or SportS+, it's as though the car transforms into a completely different vehicle---and, as noted, without any severe degradation of ride quality. It may be an option, but it is a must.

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